British Gas profits 'will fuel consumer mistrust'Only one in five people trust energy companies

29 July 2010

Energy suppliers under pressure from Ofgem 

British Gas has revealed a 98% increase in profits for the first half of 2010 - news that will only help to fuel the belief that energy companies are ripping us off.

Increased demand during the cold winter and over 200,000 new customers helped British Gas to make pre-tax profits of £585m for the first six months of 2010, up 98% on the same period last year.

British Gas was the first of the 'big six' energy companies to reduce its gas prices in February, and has made three price cuts in the past 12 months.

But Centrica, the parent of British Gas suggested that profits are likely to be smaller in the second half of the year - and hasn't ruled out energy price rises for customers.

Which? advice: we've got tips on how to cut energy costs - plus see if you're getting the best deal by comparing energy tariffs on our free and impartial energy switching service, Which? Switch. 

Energy companies 'less trusted than banks'

Responding to British Gas' announcement, Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: 'Energy prices are the number one financial concern for consumers, with energy suppliers seen as even less trustworthy than banks, so this news will only fuel the belief that the likes of British Gas are ripping us off.

'On the one hand you have energy suppliers blaming high prices on the wholesale market and on the other you have British Gas announcing a massive increase in profits. For a consumer faced with a huge energy bill the two things just don’t seem to add up.

'Energy suppliers need to get a lot better at explaining how costs are passed on to customers to convince them that prices are fair.'

Research conducted in May 2010 by Which? found that 86% of people are worried about energy prices - while only 20% think energy companies were trustworthy. Find out how Which? is campaigning for fairer energy bills.

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You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.

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